Tufton Capital Management cut its stake in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.4% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 188,052 shares of the company’s stock after selling 6,666 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for about 2.2% of Tufton Capital Management’s portfolio, making the stock its 7th largest position. Tufton Capital Management’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $10,834,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. Lowe fs LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,619 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,000 after buying an additional 46 shares in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.1% in the second quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 3,012 shares of the company’s stock worth $174,000 after buying an additional 91 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Round Table Services LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $200,000. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.93% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $62.09. 9,987,994 shares of the company traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86. The stock has a market cap of $171.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.06 and a beta of 0.68. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $62.50 and a 200 day moving average of $58.90.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.86 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Bank of America Corp. upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research note on Thursday, October 13th. Berenberg Bank reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Sunday, September 11th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Sunday. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Finally, Barclays PLC reiterated an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, October 12th. Thirteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €65.58 ($72.06).

In related news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($69.26), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($207,791.21). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.21), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,782,918.68). Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,797,092.43). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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